Sunday, September 5, 2010

Style Sunday: The Sixty-Six, An Outline of the Pieces Michelle Must Own

Inspired by Nina Garcia's book "The One Hundred, A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own," I've created my very own list. You'll notice that many of these items are considered classic. Nina's list is similar. She writes," Simply put, these items make me feel classic. And there is no substitute for feeling this way. Ever " (xiv). I completely agree. Without further ado...

Michelle's Ultimate List of Style Items:

1. A-Line Dress. Nina writes that this item will always work for you (2). This shape works well on my hour-glass figure. I even hope my wedding dress will be this flattering silhouette one day.

2. A-Line Skirt. Again this works for my shape. Right now, a lot of my A-line skirts happen to be black or graphic black and white, but I have nothing against color! I also have a lovely tweed skirt in brown for the winter.

3. Ballet Flat. I love this shoe! Nina calls them chic, timeless, simple and elegant in just two lines (16). My recommendation is to invest in $40+ pairs. The cheapest ones don't provide enough support for everyday use and don't typically cover my long toes. I have a black pair for work and a silver (currently pewter) pair for play.

4. Bangles. I love lots of skinny silver bangles, but every once in awhile a few thicker color ones are okay. I also have one with quatrefoil cutouts. Nina writes," Your bangles are your bells, announcing your stylish arrival" (18).

5. Belt. This helps to finish off an outfit, I prefer skinny to medium-sized ones, but I do own a wide braided black belt to add to a plan black sheath dress. I prefer these in classic, neutral colors. I often wear a pewter one because I was really into pewter this past summer. I really wouldn't allow one to drape low over my hips because that would be drawing a long line over (and thus accentuating) my widest part.

6. Black Top. This is my go-to casual going out top. My favorite one in my closet is a very sheer v-neck top, with a second layer of fabric at the smallest part of my waist. I wear a plain black cami underneath. I scored it on clearance at JC Penney.

7. BlackBerry. I don't own one of these yet but would love to! Hopefully next August... That would be my first smartphone.

8. Book. Nina lists several items that one does not wear, which I like. I always have a book on me. This last statement reminds me of an old study abroad friend who said it because you never know when you'll have spare time, so always have it. I love to read.

9. Boots. This is the next item I need to purchase. I have a knee-tall heeled pair in brown, but need an everyday heeled pair in black. My short black boots are so very worn! I've had them for years now... Every time I take a step, I sink down alittle more after my foot hits the ground because the sole of the heel has been replaced with a softer version. Like the commercial says, "The search is on for cute boots." Additionally, I may want to browse for a pair of flat black boots to wear to work in the winter. My feet get cold in ballet flats!

10. Cardigan. Black is a must-have. I also like to have one in a favorite color of that season. I love to layer this one top of a pretty cami or even a plain white one for a casual look. I prefer a fitted one.

11. Charm Bracelet. I love to add my own personal touch to things and this is such an obvious way to achieve just that. I have a silver one that has plenty of space to add to! So many of my charms are travel-related. In fact, my favorite is a roaming gnome.

12. Chocolate. Hopefully I don't wear this! ...but I always have it in my handbag.

13. Clutch. I love a clutch for evening. I don't have a lot of anything, but for loving these so much, and using one every week, I only own three plain ones, a red, the same one in black and another in silver. Etsy has beautiful ones and maybe I could purchase an embellished clutch for Christmas or my birthday.

14. Diamond Studs. These are so classic. Mine happen to be fake, which I don't really mind. For a couple Christmases my parents went into a jewelry store for them and came out with something else they thought I would like, so maybe they'll finally make it happen for me...

"My Summer Earrings"
So fun! They do move when I do.
15. Dangling Earrings. I usually wear big earrings most days, not huge though. I got my ears pierced for the first time at age 21 just to wear big earrings.

16. Flat Iron. This is something I use everyday. Girls with wavy or curly hair want it straight, and I am no exception.

17. Gloves. Be warm, wear gloves! I would love to purchase a leather pair in Italy...

18. Investment Bag. This is something I believe to be worth it because you'll have it forever and a classic selection is timeless. (Of course Nina agrees!) I own a single handbag that costs over $200. Coach. I would be thrilled with just that one or maybe just one other... (A limited number to keep it special, plus I'd rather spend on experiences than things.) Perhaps a Prada purchased in Italy? Or a classic Chanel bag? Since my mom knows I don't want kids, it's kind of a joke that I promised her grandchildren if she got me that Coach bag at an outlet for one of my birthdays while in college. It's a medium-sized tote of black fabric with large, almost graphic C's on it. It was an everyday bag for awhile, but now just when I dress up in black or have a job interview.

19. Jean Skirt. Believe it or not, mine is actually on the short side right now! It hits me just below mid-thigh. I am a pretty modest gal! (You won't see shorts on this list because I don't even own a pair! Truth is, my legs are fine, just muscular over feminine. I should really get over not liking them.) Still, if I come across a jean skirt that hits at the knee, I may have to consider it.

20. Jeans. A Michelle staple. They must be dark, without a whole lot of fading and whiskering. I love boot cut jeans. I also wear blue jean capris when it's warmer.

21. Khaki Blazer. This is what I call "my second skin" much of the year. I love jackets and coats. This is my go-to jacket for everyday or casual going out. I love a fitted one, without pockets on the chest. I would love to own many more blazers than this but, because of a budget, often do not.

22. Lace-trim Cami. A girl should have a pretty camisole. Bonus points for lace trim. Even more points for a silky fabric. I picked up three lovely pieces at White House Black Market. I love these under a cardigan.

23. Leather Handbag. I love a polished look and that's a leather handbag for me, especially a structured shape. My favorite is my dark red Kenneth Cole structured tote, but I loved a slouchy pewter one last summer and a big slouchy chocolate brown one the summer before. It's nice to have a change during a laid-back summer. This red bag is my everday one ...for fall. Fall is more serious, isn't it?

24. Lingerie. A girl should own beautiful things. More for you, than him (...or whatever your situation may be!).

25. Little Black Dress. Is this not the most classic piece of a wardrobe? This is definitely go-to. Nina suggests you own two, not just one (140). I have one absolutely perfect one right now.

26. Little White Dress. This is another thing I have yet to acquire... Nina says you should wear it to show off your tan (144). I'm always trying (and mainly failing) to get a tan! This is a perfectly summer item I'd love to have. ...perhaps a grecian-inspired one...

27. L.L. Bean Tote. A classic tote that will last me forever. I haven't used mine yet, but I think it will hold anyth... everything! I like to pack light, but still want to be the hostess that makes sure everyone has everything and enough.

28. Mascara. One of my best features is my long eyelashes, so I love my eyelash curler and mascara. I always used the plain pink and green tube, but just this past week I wanted to try a volume formula for going out. I tried Define-A-Lash Volume Mascara by Maybelline and love it! It can still be a natural look, so I might switch completely! My lashes do seem more defined and this product helps me create a fuller look.

29. Nail Polish. I invest in OPI because I like that a couple of coats on my toe nails will last me 2-3 weeks. Plus I adore the names! Right now, I own "Big Apple Red," "Florentine Fuchsia" and my favorite "It's All Greek to Me." All travel-related. Since nail lacquer doesn't last forever and I'm not constantly changing my color, I posess a limited number of bottles. I know there's a color called "Italian Love Affair" (I've owned it before) but it's a very faint pink and I prefer bold color.

30. One-piece Swimsuit. And throw in a pair of cheap flip flops (or the pair of sandals on this list) and a cute towel. Even though I'm not a beach bum, I still think that everyone should have at least one perfect beach or pool day a summer. Nina says confidence is key to wear a bikini, but I think that applies to swimwear in general. Because I don't wear this item so often, I use one for several years, 'til I change sizes. I had to replace mine last summer (because I went down in size actually!) and purchased one in a vibrant green-blue.

31. Pajamas. I love cute pajama pants with a coordinating top.

32. Pashmina. This is an item I associate with Italy. You can easily find them in a market. I love them as a wrap over a dress (as well as a pop of color over a LBD) or as a scarf during the winter.

33. Patterned Trouser Socks. I like these exclusively for winter, exclusively in black with black pumps or ballet flats. You know, a hint between pants and shoes. I like the designs, they're kinda French...

34. Peacoat. I love coats and prefer a heavier peacoat for winter much more than the lightweight cropped style for the fall. A single column of buttons makes me look less wide, but I still like the classic double-breasted look.

35. Pearl necklace. Another classic thing I adore. I wear a single strand more often than the multiple (layered look that Nina happens to encourage (187)). Multiple ones work better for special occasions anyway.

36. Pencil skirt. This is an item I didn't buy 'til this year. My thighs are very muscular and I don't like them bulging out of a smooth silhouette. However I found a black one that fits me fairly well, and it was cheap at a thrift store so if it doesn't work out, it's not a major loss. Anyway, pencil skirts make curves sexy.

37. Perfume. Nina and I are fans of a signature scent (191). I wanted the ultimate classic and was so pleased that I liked Chanel No. 5. I wear the new formula called "Eau Premiere" which is lighter. I wear it everyday and love it. Nina included a quote from Coco Chanel who stated, "Where should one wear perfume? Wherever one wants to be kissed" (193). ...which works in my experience!

38. Plain White Camisole. I remember my college friends teasing me for always wearing little camisoles under plain v-neck tees. Oh well, they're very me. I still wear these under lots of things.

39. Plain White Tee. This is something I got from Nina who is "obsessed with Hanes three-packs" (194). Very versatile.

40. Push-up Bra. I love wearing a push-up bra on a date. Makes me feel sexier. I also prefer a demi cup.

41. Quatrefoil Jewelry. This is a shape that is so me. It reminds me of Italy and architectural decoration. It is simple, yet bold and distinctive.

My Safari Jacket
42. Safari Jacket. This is a high fashion item for me! I feel fashionable wearing it. Nina reports that it never goes out of style (214). I picked up mine from The Limited this season. I like the description of it... safari yet urban. I like that I can cinch my waist with a belt.

43. Samsonite Luggage. I love luggage, so I don't mind selling it as a temporary gig right now. Yay for an employee discount! I hope to be a world traveler in life and prefer this dependable brand.

44. Sandals. I love my metallic silver flat sandals with the straps in a perfect loop. And my silver strappy sandals with a kitten heel. Nina's take on the matter is: "A metallic stiletto sandal (gold or silver) is really the only option for a summer night on the town" (216). Well, Nina, a kitten heel works better for me after a margarita or glass of red wine!

45. Scarf. I love scarves. They're really common in Italy. And you'll commonly see me in one almost three seasons of the year. This is a way I love to add color to my look.

46. Sheath Dress. This is a classic dress shape. I usually own one in black as an option for a number of occasions.

47. Shirt. In a color or in vertical stripes. I try to stay away from ruching, ruffles and pleats that add volume where it's just not needed on me. A slight princess cut at the start of the sleeve is fine. This type of top is nice for a business casual work environment without specific color rules. I love colors that work well together, such as a purple shirt with grey pants and jacket.

48. Sneakers. I love to walk for exercise. I'm lucky enough to live near two bike trails. Out and about, however, you will most likely see me in ballet flats.

49. Spanx. Proper undergarments are crucial! This really slims you down. Target carries a cheaper knockoff brand called Assets.

50. Stilettos. I prefer a skinny heel to a chunky one. So I own a black pair of pumps on a moderately-sized heel (for job interviews), a true black stiletto (for various occasions including my college graduation) and a sexy pair of red patent peep-toe pumps (for birthdays out and for hot dates!).

51. Suit. " all about sleek sophistication" says Nina (237). I need a new one that fits me. I am really hoping to purchase a black suit jacket that I can pair with black pants I already own for my first ever business trip I have coming up this month.

52. Sunglasses. Instead of suggesting a particular style of sunglasses, I propose finding a pair that works well with your face. I have a full square face with no cheekbones, so I need a pair or shades that the top is longer than the bottom, so that the outside end create a diagonal line up and out. I love my brown pair, but also have a big black pair because that is very Italian. Since it is a novelty pair for me, they were novelty priced at $9.99.

53. Tote. I love a tote for a beach or pool day, a daytrip, class, or a visit to a market. ...and I love my totes!

54. Trench. I have two I love, a khaki and a black, both affordable, Old Navy and H&M respectively. I like wearing my khaki one when it rains and the black one for a night out. These are classic too!

55. Turquoise and Coral Jewelry. This is one of Nina's, but I've always felt that the fashionable yet artsy women I wanted to look like wear statement pieces of these more natural materials. I have a pair of big turquoise earrings and coral jewelry that I've altered to work better for me.

56. Umbrella. I have wavy hair that I like to keep straight, and so I hate to be caught in the rain! I have umbrellas of various sizes and always one in the car.

57. Underwear. I love to wear pretty, and, sure, sexy, underwear. I also try my best to wear kinds promising to reveal no panty lines under dress pants.

58. V-neck Sweater. A v-neck looks nice on me, helps lead the eye down, for a slimming look.

59. V-neck T-shirt. Preferably in a favorite color of the season. This fall season, it might be dark purple... I always feel good wearing my ultimate favorite color, a particular shade of dark pink.

60. Valid passport. I love to travel, especially internationally! this is important.

61. Watch. I'm always on time and keep my watch set a bit early. The one I wear everyday is silver, the face is a slim rectangle, with a pink, mother of pearl background, lined with round cubic zirconias.

62. White button-down shirt. This is part of dress code for work, which can get to be boring, hence the accessories on this list. ...but I love it! It's classic and I want to wear it more outside of work.

63. White Bottom. I especially like this with a black top. I wear white on top and black on bottom 5-6 days a week, so this is like I'm rebelling! I currently only have a pair of white capris, but wouldn't mind a white A-Line skirt... or even the perfect pair of white pants, if they truly opaque and flatter me.

64. Wide-Leg Trousers. Preferably in black, but charcoal or pinstriped are completely fine as long as it goes with anything, no worries. Wide-Leg Trousers (or possibly boot-cut pants) work best for me to balance out my hips and create a rather straight line from hip to floor. (I picture Stacy and Clinton from TLC's "What Not To Wear" when I say that. They are primarily concerned with fit. I love them!)

My New Wrap Dress
...though since I have more curves than this girl, I think it looks better on me...
65. Wrap dress. I keep saying this, but this is yet another classic I adore. Plus this one is made for curves. I own a super easy blue cotton one with t-shirt sleeves. Wouldn't mind having a half-sleeved black number.

66. Zippered hoodie. My everyday one is lightweight in black, but I have a warmer one in red. I often wear the black hoodie over a white camisole with dark blue jeans (or jean capris) around the house.

Only 66, not 100 like Nina. Nina is in the fashion industry, so having 2/3 the number of her must-haves is probably more than enough! I prefer a simplified wardrobe where I adore and use everything anyway. 
All three images come from The Limited.


  1. Hi there! I found you through Kristi's blog. I look forward to reading yours as it looks like everything I'm interested in. I like your enthusiasm and I am impressed you created this list. It does bring it into focus and it's something I need to do.

    Stephanie ( )

  2. Stephanie, I'm thrilled to inspire someone! I've been trying to build a simplified wardrobe for the past few months now. Getting rid of stuff is not as fun as making this list! So far, it has highlighted the holes I need to fill in.

    I love your blog! Thanks for the blogroll link.